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Sonics' Payton, McMillan tossed in fourth quarter

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indiana kept its cool when it counted.

Seattle didn't, and the Pacers' fourth-quarter run against the frustrated SuperSonics gave them a 93-80 victory Friday night for their 13th straight win at home.

"At the time, they were down 11, 12 points, so there definitely was a lot of frustration,'' said Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

"They had a couple turnovers which they probably thought were
fouls,'' he said. "I thought we had some fouls that weren't called
earlier, so the game was definitely two-sided.''

Eight technical fouls were called against both teams. Seattle had five, including two each in the fourth quarter against Gary Payton and coach Nate McMillan, who were ejected in the closing minutes.

"It kind of went both ways. You can't be too mad at the refs,'' said O'Neal, who had one of three technicals called against the Pacers earlier in the game. "They kind of evened it out late in the game, but that's the way this game is played sometimes. You've just got to try to stay focused, fight your way through it.''

Ron Artest and Ron Mercer also scored 14 points each for the
Pacers, who held the SuperSonics to three baskets in the first 10
minutes in the final period. Payton scored 18 points and Desmond
Mason had 17 for the Sonics, who have lost four straight on the
road and five of their last six road games.

Seattle led by five points early in the third quarter and
trailed by just four before missing its first seven shots of the
fourth quarter.

Then, as the Pacers began pulling away, the Sonics fell apart.

"Our offense went south,'' McMillan said. "There was too much grabbing and holding with quick whistles and lots of no-calls. (Payton) was tired of it and I was tired of it.

"There comes a point in time when you need to state your mind.''

Indiana took its biggest lead at 90-76 on a basket by Mercer with just over two minutes to go. Mason and Payton then scored for Seattle, but Payton was quickly called for his fourth personal foul and got the two technicals and automatic ejection as he continued protesting the call.

That's when McMillan, who got his first technical when Payton was called for an offensive foul three minutes earlier, picked up his second technical and joined Payton in an early walk to the locker room.

Reggie Miller then scored the final points on free throws for the technicals.

For the game, Indiana shot 28-of-31 from the foul line to
Seattle's 11-of-14.

"It was frustrating. They were fouling us,'' Seattle's Kenny Anderson said. "They were either grabbing or holding and they weren't calling anything. But that happens. You have to play through it.

"What it did was make us get out of sync.''

Al Harrington added 12 points, and Miller and Jamaal Tinsley had 11 apiece for Indiana.

The Pacers, with eight first-quarter points by Miller, led by as
many as nine in the first half. But Seattle made a run in the
second quarter while Indiana's starters were on the bench.

After Indiana took a 36-30 lead on a basket by Austin Croshere,
who did not play the previous three games after coming off the
injured list, the Sonics scored consecutive baskets by Rashard
Lewis, Anderson and Vladimir Radmanovic to tie it.

The Pacers built the lead back to 43-36 before a 13-2 run by
Seattle. The Sonics took their first lead at 46-45 on a basket by
Payton with 2:32 before halftime.

Seattle led 49-47 at the half and 52-47 on a 3-pointer by Radmanovic early in the third quarter. There were three more ties in that period, the last at 69 before a 3-pointer by Artest put Indiana in front to stay.

Game notes
The Pacers are 28-4 when ahead going into the fourth. ... Payton needs nine points to become the 47th player in NBA history with 18,000 career points. He had 40 points the last time the teams played. ... Indiana is an NBA-best 20-1 at home, but 11-11 on the road -- including losses in four of the last six away from Conseco Fieldhouse. ... The Pacers swept their two-game series with Seattle for the first time since 1995-96.